(And I'm using the actual company's names. If they don't like it, well, it's their fault for having crappy representatives of their company.)
I'm a Direct Sales supporter. You know, direct sales...the "party" kind of selling, where you get a postcard in your mailbox and go to a friend's house to browse and buy candles or jewelry or other home products. I go for a number of reasons - seeing friends, helping the hostess earn free product, supporting the woman that is the consultant or demonstrator, free food - but I also go because I'm in the direct sales arena myself.
(Don't run from the computer screaming. I'm not here to sell you anything. But if you want me to, let me know.)
My first venture into this line of business was in 2004, and it didn't go well. Not because I wasn't good at it, because I was pretty good, but rather because I fell into a "line" (DS speak for your "family" in your company) that liked to buy leads at $65 a pop to call strangers and sell them things. I lost more money than I made, and in the end, pretty much learned the definition of "pyramid scheme."
Everyone has a story about a party that went wrong, or a nightmare consultant. As I've been involved in a few other companies since the pyramid, I've heard horror stories of bad parties, failing products, dirty houses, you name it. But as a consumer first, I can tell you what people hate most is pushy sales people.
(Who wants a story?! Okay, here you go!)
Right around the time I had started with the newspaper, I was invited to a Stampin' Up party. (Note to other Stampin' Up reps: your stuff is cool; this woman was NOT, and I know there are much better reps out there.) I went to the party and made a card. All I remember is that I used frog stamps and paper punches. The rep - let's call her B-face -had a game where you draw a stamp and you either host a show or get free shipping or something. I chose to play and my little piece of paper said I had to host a party. I was okay with this.
B-face wanted to close the show that day or the day after (and being in direct sales, let me just say, this lady had some major cajones. It wasn't even the end of the month.). I didn't know what I wanted and said I'd call her with my order.
The next day, she called me. Now, remember when I said I had just started with the paper? It was a very busy and stressful week. I told her I didn't have my order ready and if she had to close the show, to just go ahead and close it. She said not to worry, that she'd hold it open for me another day.
Everyday for a week, it was the same conversation. "No, I don't know. Close the show without me." But she just kept saying she'd keep the show open one more day.
The breaking point came a few days later. She left me a nasty message on my answering machine. On my birthday. While my mom was visiting and she heard every word. Mom called me at work and I called B-face myself.
I told her the same things I'd been saying all along: that I didn't know what I wanted and to close the show without me. To which she started yelling at me "I kept this show open for you!" Yeah, who asked you to?
After the verbal abuse was done and I nailed (stamped?) it through her thick skull that I wouldn't be buying anything from her, she composed herself and asked when I wanted to host my party.
You've got to be kidding me.
Why on EARTH would I want to deal with you again or subject my friends to you?
|What do you mean you don't want to buy anything from me?|
I didn't say any of this, but probably should have. Instead, I told her the beginning of the summer would probably work. (This was in March.)
She flipped her lid. "Did you understand the rules of the game you chose to play?" she asked me.
I should have said, "Did you understand that you're a raging B and I hope you die in a vat of stamp ink?"
That was the end of that. Or so I thought. (And no, I never hosted that party.)
A few months later, I start receiving information on Stampin' Up. With little scribbles on it that said things like, "Let's try again! Love, B-face." Again with those cajones. After ignoring those for a few months, the phone calls started. I love caller ID.
About this time, I started with The Pampered Chef. (I love their stuff, but am no longer selling it.)
One day, I'd had enough, and answered the phone when she called.
"Hi Jessica. This is B-face. How are you?"
Ready to plot your death, thanks for asking.
"I want to tell you about our current special for new consultants. Do you have a second?"
Nope, I was about to go get a tattoo over my episotomy scar.
What I did say to her was that I was with The Pampered Chef now and didn't want any more phone calls.
(I'm nice over the phone, since I'm apparently not on-line.)
She started asking me questions about being with PC. And then she hits me with, "You know, I'm also with Pampered Chef. And Partylite. You can do more than one, if you'd like!"
I told her to leave me alone, in the politest way I could.
And then the email blasts started.
(Honestly, at this point, I'm like "Will this B ever just buy a clue?!")
I wrote back and told her to remove me from her email list. We are DO-NE. She wrote back and said she'd remove me.
Two weeks later was another email.
I was fed up. Fed up in the way only Cankles, the crappy school administrator and a couple student loan officers have witnessed me fed up.
I wrote her back, telling her where to go with her businesses. That I had explicitly asked her to stop contacting me, both over the phone and over the internet. That I was contacting each of the heads of her businesses to alert them that she was doing three at-home businesses [which I guess is okay if you're not a higher-up] and that if she contacted me again, I would have my husband, the lawyer, serve her with papers suing her for harassment.
And that was the last I heard from B-face.
Which is why I try my darndest NOT to be that consultant. I think I run a pretty fun, low key, low pressure show. I run the show I would like to attend. And that usually means I don't recruit, but I'm okay with that.
(I'm sure I'll write another post about this later.)
In light of Direct Sales and B-face and a lot of Direct Sales companies' spring catalogs coming out this month, I'd like to announce a contest!
Reply to this blog below, email me or put a message up on Facebook about the worst Direct Sales party you ever went to. Bonus points for pushy salespeople stories! I will put them (aka...figure out how to) and we'll have a vote on who's story is the worst. Or best, depending on your point of view.
The prize? An assortment of unused Pampered Chef items I found while cleaning out my cabinet over the weekend. And maybe a little Uppercase Living freebies thrown in.
But if you enter, you have to promise me that you know that all Direct Sales people aren't like this and to, in the future, go to a Direct Sales party. Okay? Okay.
I need the stories by 5 p.m. Friday the 11th. Sooner is better though!